Monday, January 28, 2008

Prolonging The Agony

As farmer groups remembered the Mendiola Massacre, twelve Sumilao farmers quietly came to Manila. Days before Christmas the 54-strong Sumilao group went home after Gloria placed their disputed land under the CARP. The farmers vowed to return to Manila if GMA fails to deliver on her promise. SMFI has filed an appeal with the DAR to counter the order. This is the only thing they can do. DAR sec. Pangandaman as we all know has been dragging his ass on this case.

SMFI floated an offer but nothing has come of it. Atty. Marlon Manuel said that they were never approached by SMFI nor a formal offer was made. And the farmers also would also stick to their claim of the disputed land. I am waiting for the case to reach the Supreme Court as the case has evolved and has taken a new dimension. SMFI is banking on Pangandaman but this is only prolonging the inevitable.

SMFI knows only too well that delay is the only thing they can do. Evidences and circumstances are not on their side. The lack of the cease and desist order is giving them a leverage as development continues. They can use this to bargain up to a certain extent. But it is not an assurance that the courts will decide in their favor.

So the fight of the Sumilao farmers is far from over. Time is not on their side. If this case drags on, SMFI might finish construction that could change the entire scenario, A cease and desist order should be issued by DAR, unless of course Pangandaman chooses not to end this quickly. Rumors have it that he cannot simply do so. I would leave it to your inquisitive mind why.

NOTE: A farmer is considered landless if he owns less than three hectares of land.